The Wellington Former Refugee Settlement Network (FRSN) met yesterday (16th November 2023) for their quarterly catchup…but with a difference this time. Lucia from ChangeMakers and Birgit from HOST International Aotearoa worked together to respond to the original plans for the network for the network to go beyond updates to being a group of organisational representatives actively working together as a collective to activate, and advocate for, change and ultimately strengthen refugee settlement.
The biggest challenges faced by people of refugee background are not new, and are known by experience of FRSN members with lived experience, through work in the settlement space by those FRSN mebers without lived experience, and as reported to ChangeMakers at their Leaders Council Huis and shared at the last meeting. Groups worked together to brainstorm and breakdown the diffent factors creating each challenge and considered what outcomes would like to be seen. Unsurprisingly the challenges, which include mental health, housing, employment, language barriers and the Refugee Family Support Category of immigration, all impact on one another.
This is an exciting step in the right direction for us in Wellington, and while the work will take time, as one member said, “we can look at our quick wins and longer term work, and get some movement underway”. A huge shout out to Lucia and Birgit for making this happen, and everyone who attended for their openness and willingness to be part of this ‘change’ work.